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Make NO bones about it

I will never forget the Christmas of 2015. All was well, stockings had been passed around, and gifts had been unwrapped including the dog’s special treats. This year they had received a bone that was hollowed out and filled with a flavorful concoction of which they would happily lick out over a long period of time. Rarely would they ever actually chew on the bone itself until this wonderful Christmas day.  It was not more than 15 minute after receiving their bone that Marley (my shepherd mix) came up to me profusely drooling from the right side of her mouth and whimpering.  Startled, I immediately lifted her lip and saw that she had created a severe slab fracture of her 4th premolar (the largest 3 rooted tooth in a dog) with significant pulp exposure. 

This is a very painful condition and even more so serious due to the amount of pulp exposure, which is the alive portion of the tooth that can easily develop infection if left untreated.  I knew immediately that this would require dental surgery to remove the broken tooth and subsequent roots so that she would not develop a future infection.   Thankfully, she was able to have the procedure performed the next day and was on the road to recovery.   Missing that tooth has not diminished her ability to chew or play with other appropriate toys and still is happy to chew on the correct bones that will hopefully not cause her future tooth fractures.

Despite my best intentions with giving fun new Christmas bones, I quickly learned that we have to be careful what we give our pets despite it being a special time of celebration. I hope others can learn from my story and think twice about what they are choosing to spoil their pets with during this Christmas Season.  If you find that your pet is also a victim of a Christmas gift gone wrong, the doctors at the Animal Hospital at Lake Brandt are more than happy to help give you and your pets the treatment it needs to continue to enjoy this Christmas season.

Catherine Smith, DVM


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  • "I have been taking my 16 year old lab, Oscar, to this vet since he came to me in 2004, and I wouldn't take any of my dogs anywhere else! They are so wonderful with both pets and people. I would recommend any of the doctors and staff to anyone."
    Erin H
  • "We have been going to another vet for years. We wanted to have our year old Wheaten Terrier, Rylee spayed by laparoscopy so she would have less pain and be back to her usual activity in 2-3 days instead of 10-14 days. Our vet does the traditional spay. We had a consult meet and greet with Dr. Courtney Pierce. She answered all our questions and so friendly and professional. They have a state of the art OR suite. Rylee did great. On post op day three she spotted a squirrel and did an all out chase with no ill effects! All the staff were great."
    Linda A
  • "I love Dr. Jernigan at AHLB and would never take my dog anywhere else! The staff is excellent with animals and always professional, courteous and respectful to owners. I have trusted this animal hospital for all of my dog's care, including check ups, surgeries (she's had three!) and for boarding when we have to go out of town. Every experience I have had here has been wonderful and I highly recommend their services to anyone looking for a veterinary office for their furry children!."
    Avery C